Ajax forward Dmitry Bulykin claimed Friday that he has been frozen out of the Russian national team for non-football reasons.
The 6-foot, 4-inch striker scored seven goals in 15 appearances for Russia in 2003 and 2004, including a hat-trick against Switzerland in qualifying for Euro 2004. But he has not been able to claw his way back into the reckoning since that year, despite finding prolific form of late.
"My desire to play for the national side hasn't disappeared," Bulykin, 32, was quoted as saying by the UEFA.com website. "But desire is not enough. And the goals I am scoring are not enough. It seems they aren't the fundamental benchmark. I need something else, but this has no relation to football," he said.
Bulykin has been completely overlooked by a succession of Russia managers since he was last picked by Georgy Yartsev in a humiliating 2004 7-1 whitewash by Portugal during qualification for the 2006 World Cup.
The former Lokomotiv Moscow, Dynamo Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen striker bagged 21 goals in 30 games for ADO Den Hague in the Netherlands last season while on loan from Anderlecht. He joined Ajax on a free transfer on the last day of the summer transfer window, and has scored four times in eight appearances so far this season.
Various commentators have clamored for current Russia coach Dick Advocaat to recall Bulykin, if only to add competition for places among Russia's long-standing quartet of Andrei Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Alexander Kerzhakov.